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Reproduction Efficiency and Health Traits in Dorper, White Dorper, and Tsigai Sheep Breeds under Temperate European Conditions

  • Gavojdian, D. ;
  • Budai, C. ;
  • Cziszter, L.T. ;
  • Csizmar, N. ;
  • Javor, A. ;
  • Kusza, S.
  • Received : 2014.08.27
  • Accepted : 2014.11.09
  • Published : 2015.04.01

Abstract

The objective of the current pilot study was to evaluate the reproductive performance and health indicators in Dorper, White Dorper, and Tsigai breed ewes managed semi-intensively under European temperate conditions. A total of 544 ewe-year units were observed, with ewes (ranging from 1.5 to 8 years of age) managed under identical rearing conditions for a period of two consecutive production cycles (2012 through 2013 and 2013 through 2014). In general, significant ($p{\leq}0.001$) genotype-related disparities were found in occurrence rates for all health parameters taken into study. Clinical mastitis incidence was significantly lower ($p{\leq}0.05$) in Dorper (9.4%) and White Dorper (10.8%) breeds compared to that of Tsigai ewes (17.4%). Significant differences ($p{\leq}0.05$) for lameness were found between Dorper and Tsigai breeds, with occurrence rates of 8.0% and 2.9%, respectively. Incidence for pneumonia and abortion was not influenced (p>0.05) by the ewes' genotype. Litter size was significantly lower ($p{\leq}0.05$) in White Dorper breed than for Dorper and Tsigai ewes, of 1.21, 1.40, and 1.45, respectively. Conception rates and lambs survival were not affected (p>0.05) by genotype. Results suggest that South African Dorper and White Dorper sheep breeds have adapted well to the specific rearing conditions.

Keywords

Sheep;Genotype;Fitness;Health;Performance;Reproduction

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